Helping others succeed is the cornerstone of a business professional
Successful business people know that many steps were required to reach that status. One of those, of course, is hard work. But they also know that helping others succeed in business is an important component in their own growth.
How can you help others succeed? Here are five suggestions to keep in mind. Most are geared around networking events, but they can be used any time. (I talk more about networking in this column. Watch the accompanying webinar, too.)
1. Ask probing questions. During business networking events we tend to ask basic questions like, “What does your firm do?” That’s OK, but to help others succeed you should probe deeper. Ask:
– How can I help you?
– What are you looking for in a prospect?
– Who is a good customer for you?
Sure, you won’t be out prospecting for that person, but at least you’ll have a better understanding of how you can help.
2. Introduce to a potential buyer. As you meet people at those networking events, keep an antenna up for possible connections. For example, you hear at one point that a firm could use a new IT person. Well, moments earlier you met someone from a staffing agency specializing in IT positions. Bring the two people together. You may not benefit immediately, but that’s not the point..
Jeffrey Gitomer has an interesting twist on this idea. Arrange a breakfast meeting between two of your prospects who could be a good fit. Let them get to know each other and talk shop. Your role is merely as the facilitator. The two may or may not come to terms. Either way, they have gotten to know each other better, and you come off as the good guy (or gal) for bringing them together.
3. Introduce them to other networking events. If the person is new to the area, talk up the other business networking events available in the area. Then, follow up with an e-mail so the business person has a written record. I’ve done this several times, and it’s really gratifying. Do I gain anything? Only the satisfaction of doing so. Remember, your objective here is to help other professionals succeed. They will remember the gesture, and may contact you later. But that’s secondary.
4. Encourage the person to give presentations. Giving a presentation to business and service groups is a good way to get noticed in the marketplace. Service clubs (Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions), as well as chambers of commerce and other organizations regularly need presenters. Encourage the new business person to get out and speak. It’s a good way to build presentation skills and a prospect base.
5. Ask at end of a sales call. This is a twist on the “door knob close” that salespeople were taught years ago. Let’s say that your customer decided not to buy at this time. You still want to help the person in some fashion, so as you’re getting ready to leave, say something like this:
“Mr. Prospect, I’m bummed that we didn’t connect today, but I understand. I’d still like to help you in some manner. I network a lot, and have quite a few contacts. Is there anything you can use help with right now, either personally or professionally?”
Regardless of what you hear – maybe he needs a plumber, lawn care service, or estate planning – go through your contact list for any leads you can offer. Your effort will be appreciated. And you may get a sale next time.
For additional ideas on how you and your business can be more successful, see “Ensure that your meetings are informative and worthwhile” and “Ingraining the 7 habits of highly effective people.”
In what ways do you help others succeed? Feel free to comment below. And if you found value in this post, could you do me a favor by sharing it with others? Thanks!